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The Cruise … Passengers.

Posted by Big John on July 21, 2011

Today there are so many cruises to choose from that you can .. choose your itinerary .. choose your price .. choose your cabin .. choose your restaurant .. but you can’t choose your fellow passengers ….

… and in the past this has always put me off the idea of cruising, for, by nature, I am not a gregarious person and the thought of being stuck with hundreds of ‘jolly wallies’ for two weeks was not something which I relished.

Now as a ‘survivor’ of three voyages on the high seas, I must say that I have mostly enjoyed the experience; but then I have been lucky in not being forced to share a table at dinner with a group of people whom you think are perfectly pleasant at the start of the cruise, but who you would happily cast adrift in an open boat by the end. A table for two works well for me.

It was Jean-Paul Sartre who said … “Hell is other people”, and to a large extent I have to agree with him. However I do enjoy observing the more ‘colourful’ and eccentric characters among us, and the confines of a fairly small cruise ship are a good place to do just that. It wasn’t quite ‘Agatha Christie’, but we did have, among others, a 4’6″ tall ‘Russian’ ballerina (“I just lurv to tango, darlink“), who must have known Najinsky and Diaghilev, and a “Colonel Blimp” type who probably thought that the ship was on it’s way back to ‘the colonies’.

Needless to say I avoided, like the plague, all those .. “let’s all join in and have fun” .. activities which some Brits so love when on holiday. I guess it must be some sort of masochistic nostalgia for the days of those post-war holiday camps.

It’s only fair to say that I did pass the time of day with some very pleasant and interesting people, and even the few natterers and nutters I met were harmless, but after two weeks in the company of strangers, I was pleased to return to dry land and the solitude and comforts of home.

So will this somewhat reclusive old git be taking that six month world cruise next year ? … Well, only if I’m …

…   ‘shanghaied’ by a press gang !    🙂


7 Responses to “The Cruise … Passengers.”

  1. I too dislike being forced into the company of strangers. It happened some years ago when I was inveigled into going on a cruise of the Nile. On the boat were our British group, an Italian group and some others, maybe Germans. The worst moment came when we were informed (not asked) that this evening there was to be a competitive “do” where we had to dress up and create a tableau of some sort and, of course, priority number 1 was to do better than the Italians.

    We were convoked for a meeting to discuss what we were going to do. When we reached the point where they were planning to wrap us all up in paper from toilet rolls to resemble mummies, I got up and walked out. That evening while the rest were mummying, we went ashore by ourselves and walked to the nearest village which we explored. It was a far more educational – and enjoyable – experience than spending the evening wrapped in bog paper.

  2. Betty said

    I don’t like people all that much, either, but I do love to watch them. Especially in places such as Las Vegas. Jay and I sat and drank Pepsis in the Mirage one afternoon for over an hour, just watching the people coming through the door. Finally, Jay leaned over to me and said, “Don’t any of these people have mirrors?”

  3. Rummuser said

    Big John, here is a suggestion. I shall personally introduce you to more than a dozen Colonel Blimp clones in India, who still think that India is a colony. All that you have to do is to stop dreaming about the press gangs, and decide to visit the jewel in the crown. It is far different now than it was during the days of the Blimps but still worth it. I shall send by separate post something to tempt you. Not Persis Khambatta, I promise.

  4. Big John said

    I’ve heard of those ‘mummy nights’ before ‘Tiger’, and although I’ve always fancied a trip to Egypt, I think that I would need all the bog paper I could get for it’s original purpose. 😉

    Betty .. “Don’t any of these people have mirrors?” .. My wife said those very words to me only yesterday, and that was only after a visit to the local supermarket. 🙂

    Thanks very much for all the info. Ramana. “Jolly good show and all that what! Old bean” .. 😉 .. When I’ve looked at it all I’ll email you.

  5. Grannymar said

    i have only been on one cruise. Thankfully there was no gift wrapping in loo paper. I DO remember playing cards all day we were a small group of six passengers. We were at sea all that day with no calls to any ports. A memorable day… I learned to drink Bacardi rum and Coke, and introduced one of my companions to her future husband!

  6. Big John said

    ‘Grannymar’ … Cards ! .. Rum and Coke ! .. I hope that you were not playing for money. You’ll be telling us next that the “companion” was a nun ! 😉

  7. Ginnie said

    You’ve pinpointed exactly why I’ve never gone on a cruise. The idea of being ship-bound for two weeks with strangers gives me chills. My favorite type of vacation is getting in my own car and taking to the road … no time tables or itineraries.

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